NPO's ratings

Pinsider NPO has rated 17 machines.

This page shows all all these ratings, and forms NPO's personal top 17.

Rating comments

NPO has written 17 rating comments:

2 years ago
There's something special about the B/W Class of 92-98. These are the games that most of us remember, even if we only got a couple games in before pinball disappeared from the public's eye heading into the 21st century. I think I may have gotten 2-3 games on Scared Stiff before not getting to play it again until around 2012, but those couple games were enough to help me fuel the fire of desirability in the 2010s, which was only amplified after discovering Chris Bucci's videos and watching the one for SS over and over. Fast-forwarding to February 2019, I am finally able to say I own a SS. Was it worth the wait? Well, let's dive in and talk about it for a second.

I know I already mentioned Chris Bucci's videos, but I have to say, between him and Bowen, their videos really help me gauge if I will like a game or not. Unfortunately, the Florida Panhandle is a death-zone for pinball; so any resources to help me determine if I'll like a game or not are very valuable. That being said, I took a $6800 chance and bought one from Games Exchange in Colorado, and it arrived to my doorstop in about 1.5 weeks, which was very fast considering the winter weather back in Colorado.

Got the game setup, and I have always really liked the cabinet art on this game. Granted, it's a coffin, so not all of the space is utilized, but that may not necessarily be a bad thing. The artwork gives a real bang for your buck with a bunch of corrected messages in red ink, a really good "As Seen on TV" look-alike logo, and the infamous "RRR" scratched out, which on the prototype was intact and read "Real, Raunchy, and Ribbed for your pleasure". Side translite art is nothing too special - spiders - scary. The translite is really cool with all sorts of cool throwbacks and indirect references - and I love that there's a backbox toy in this game. You don't really see that too often, and it's a cool gimmick of a spider twirling around the web providing the player with different awards. The awards, when used at the right time, can be really helpful, especially the crate and coffin MB extensions....!

The PF artwork is really cool. I love the Stiff-o-Meter artwork and insert lighting - looks really awesome! Greg Feres really hit it out of the park with the art on this game. As far as the rules are concerned, I won't deny they are a bit shallow. It's all about completing the six tales in the game, and none of them are exceptionally difficult. While that may start the Stiff-o-Meter, you still have to complete it - and most don't really consider it to be the wizard mode of the game. The true wizard mode of the game is Spider MB, which is reached by collecting all 16 awards on the backbox toy. Good luck. I have heard a few have done it, but I've never seen anyone do it, and I certainly have not completed it myself.

Music is absolutely fantastic - has a upbeat "Super Ghouls and Ghosts" feel to it. Music definitely doesn't get old to me. Some of the callouts do though, which is a bummer. Some of them are pretty clever, and thankfully a few rarely get mentioned, so those stay fresh, but some really get hackneyed - especially the Deadhead callouts :/. YMMV on this one.

Lighting on the game is visually very appealing, especially transitioning from game over to attract mode. The flashers go nuts in a CW/CCW motion that just beautiful when running. I am a big fan of B/W attract mode lightning; it's like no two games have the same pattern, which cannot be said for today's manufacturers where I can nearly predict one pattern after another.

No real toys on PF. Closest you'll get to them are the crate and stiff in the coffin, which are more clever transition points for the ball to go from the PF to underneath the PF or vice versa. Don't get me wrong, they work very well and look the part. Just don't go looking for "ball interactive" toys on this game. The gameplay makes up for it though!

Some great aftermarket DIY mods are available for this game -particularly the Dancing BoogeyMen, Candle light, and Skull pile LED mod. I performed the Skull pile mod on my own, and with some LEDs, hot glue, and patience, I was able to bring that mod to my game - which really looks the part.

This game has really shot up in price the last 6 years. I had to put down $6800 to get my hands on one, which I understand I paid a distributor's mark-up, but hey, I wanted it and no one else had one FS at the time. Just is what it is. Is there $6800 worth of game here? Absolutely not, BUT, with your family/friends, there's $6800 worth of fun here to me. This is a very family-friendly game in terms of difficulty. TWD or BSD this is not - SS is a fun game for nearly anyone who puts minimal effort into their shots, and nearly everyone can at least get Crate MB. If everyone's having fun, that to me, is far more important than the difficulty of a game.

Lots of rumors about Elvira 3 or a CGC remake right now, which is another reason I paid what I did. We really don't know if the game will be remade, and we don't know if/when Elvira 3 is going to hit. I felt the time was now to get one, and so I did. Whatever happens to the value of the game - doesn't really matter to me. I got a game I like, and that's what is important.

Well, I hope that helped paint a picture on SS for you. Thanks for killing some time with me : ).
3 years ago
I remember many, many moons ago I made the comment that CFTBL was "ok", being a very slow game that made me want to fall asleep. That was also when I had been into pinball for all of about 4 months, and I got a good number of "wake up before you speak" comments my way. I didn't understand why people stood up for this game so much. Fast forward to December 2017 - last day of the year nearly, and I finally had figured it out.

First impression are important, and holy cow, does the translite and playfield kill it in terms of artwork. Wow, what a beautiful presentation. Music is great, love hearing the "malt shop" music on each ball. Shots feel good. You basically have 3 ramps, one VUK, and 2 scoops. Nearly all of them feel natural and smooth; none of them seem "impossible" until you have to hit the Snack Bar for the jackpot. The big main ramp doesn't seem to really get in the way, and I love shooting it during multi-ball.

The theme is an awesome mish-mash of drive-in theater and CFTBL. Move your car is always a hoot, and with an external sub, it really rocks. Peeping Tom is a fun lil' video mode and hitting the flippers together gives you a nice lil' "Mortal Kombat" ending to the mode.

The one big toy in the game is the hologram, and it is cool for what it is - a unique gimmick that isn't interactive but adds a great "whoa - that's pretty cool!" factor to the game. Repros are available at $400 a pop, and the LCD upgrade is by far superior in every way imaginable. Very hard to find it now, and if you do, expect to pay silly money ($1000+). The other near unobtainium part are the motors for both the hologram and the mirror. You can use cross-reference a motor from Hurricane to substitute. Will take a tiny bit of modification, but it can be done, so don't let that possibility detour you from picking one up.

I would say the only real bummer to the game is how shallow it is. It's all about spelling "F-I-L-M", getting MB, find the Creature, rescue the girl, get the jackpot, or go for super jackpot, and that's it in a nutshell. That being said, there's a sense of "simple is better" and "less is more" with this game. I am so absolutely glad I was able to get one. At the time of this review, routed examples are starting to go for $5200+ regularly, so the days of this being a "$3000ish" game are over. Shame, it's really fun, and I love watching my girl enjoy it. Definitely a keeper - just waiting on the reproduction PFs. Once those happen, this game will skyrocket.
4 years ago
Corvette is a unique beast of a machine. Made back in 1994, this was when wide-body games were getting some decent attention with DM, STTNG, and TZ all having been previously released packed full of toys and goodies. How does Corvette stack up? Let's take a look.

The cabinet and translite look really sharp on this game. The blends of reds with purples on the cabinet look great, and I love how they have an older Corvette on one side and the newest (at the time) Corvette on the other. That shows some paradigm thinking rather than the same ol' "left matches right" artwork. Translite is very busy - maybe a lil' too busy. Love the malt shop throwback portion of it on the bottom left, and it's pretty cool how the "upcoming Corvette" is hidden in the translite artwork that only shows up when a very specific objective is completed. That is pretty awesome.

The playfield artwork is solid as well - the artwork has a very streamline look to it. Everything pops and flows extremely well. All the plastics are vibrant and give off a very wide variety of moods and settings.

Talk about a stuffed game here - 3 ramps, 1 diverter, 1 drop hole, 1 spinner, 4 habit trails, 2 main toys - holy smokes! Rumor has it, this was originally intended to be a wife-body game; however, last minute it was changed to a traditional playfield. All I know, wow, there's a lot going on here.

Sounds and music are so 90s in a good way. The music is very "cruising guitar music" that would be ubiquitous back when 30 minute car television shows were more prevalent. It's almost like - surfing rock music - if that makes any sense. It has a touch of Joe Satriana in it, and I love it. There's some ragtime piano music in certain modes as well - just what a hilarious yet fitting blend of music. Call outs are pretty cool - definitely some "bass" callouts whenever you do anything with the LT engine.

Speaking of the LT5, let's talk about the toys. The LT5 is a pretty cool combination of rubbers, and a set of solenoids that rock a platform back and forth with an LT5 engine cover over it, and it is a VERY cool effect. Well incorporated into the game, and it is the start of locking balls 1 and 2 before multiball begins. The other main toy is a 2 car dragstrip that runs nearly the entire length of the playfield. The player controls one while the machine controls the other. It is incorporated into 2 different modes with one of them being a "player control" shift mode using the flipper buttons. Overall, two very cool toys. I dread anything going wrong with the engine though. Seems like when it goes down, it is a very precise mechanism that cna be hard to get back on its feet. No experience from me on this one.

Flow is pretty solid overall, and the game can be punishing - especially with only 1 ball saver per game - so use it wisely. Modes are varied and pretty well thought out. It is fun to collect cars from such a wide variety of years.

So why didn't it stay in my collection? Well, I was gunning hard for a BSD at the time, and I had collected all the cars to see the new 97 Vette displayed in the translite. Not to say once I beat a game I let it go; I was ready to let someone else try and enjoy it for a bit.

Overall, Corvette is a really fun and entertaining game. I would definitely consider getting another one down the road; I would just need to have it in a bit of a bigger (7-8 pins) collection. In a collection of 4 or less, I needed to move on. Like a ride in a real Corvette though - it was fun while it lasted!
5 years ago
TAF - Bally's magnum opus. The top selling machine in pinball history. The year is 2016, and I finally have this in my collection. I was very blessed to receive this machine from a fellow Pinsider, and he had taken great care of it. Very happy to own one, and I'll jump right in.

So, TAF was introduced right as DMD graphics were first being produced. On that note, there aren't a WHOLE lot of animations on the screen and they can seem a bit repetitive. It's nothing that ruins the game, in fact, to me it's a "less is more" scenario that gives TAF a lil' bit of throwback charm. Just don't go in expecting movie clips like today's Stern games. Not going to happen.

Gorgeous translite art fully encapsulating the vibe and image of the movie the game is based on. Cabinet art is subtle with Thing twirling and shooting the pinball all over the place. Great stuff, looks the part and to the point.

The playfield with the mansion center stage - looks fabulous. It seems like we have seen this layout before, say, Whirldwind? Not a direct copy by any stretch, but you can see the similarities, and hey, with Pat Lawlor working both - I think that's a bit expected. No biggie here.

The gimmicks and toys on this one, man - the 3 magnets underneath the playfield, Thing coming out of the box and taking your ball, the "Thing Flips" flipper shooting the shot for you - you just don't see this level of toys anymore. Hell with all the bash toys (looking at you MetPro and TWD): THIS is how you implement features and toys. And then after you drain the ball, Thing randomly flips the flippers with the end of the Addams family music. Absolutely awesome.

The sounds and callouts are pretty good overall. Raul Julia put in some very intense custom voicework for us, and man, did he give it his all - especially with "Showtime!!!" and "Who says you can't take it with you???" Lightshows are spectacular on this one - especially the buildup to Showtime MB - fan-flipping-tastic.

Look, I'm slow here with finally owning TAF 24 years later after it came out. Think about that, a quarter century since it came out - some of your kids have been born and gone to college already before I bought my TAF. Why would I go with this over a new Spooky, JJP, or Stern? It's just got a charm to it. This was pinball at its peak when there was "magic" still to the game. Everyone knew TAF, and this game crosses 3-4 generations of people who love TAF. It doesn't feel cheap or watered down with its QA, and it certainly doesn't feel like a collector's item in terms of rarity. It is a game for everyone - not just people with deep pockets or those who love supporting a company that keeps cost-cutting while price increasing.

It is simply a great game, and sure, touring the mansion is easy, but there's more to this game than that. It is a game of character with some of the most recognizable characters in film history. My only regret was taking so long to finally get one. ColorDMD and Pinsound board already installed, and man, with the motion picture orchestra score playing, this game just got even better....!

The only problem is finding one with a great playfield. These games were beaten into oblivion, and with CPR scheduled to release the repo playfields about the same time I look to retire from the Air Force, make sure you shop around and find one in solid condition. There's a lot of them out there, but don't take too long. They are getting harder to find in solid condition without paying a small fortune.

I'd type more, but I think I heard Gomez just tell me that it's............SHOWTIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5 years ago
The best of the best. Perfect 10 from me.

Without going too much into it, I have wanted this game for 20 years, and now I have one, and man, it is everything I remember from summer of 1996.

This is the game that perfected the fan layout. The artwork is great, and it complements the humor of the game so well. The voice actors nailed everything they touched. The voice actor for the martians especially did an outstanding job. There are many memorable callouts on this game - particularly "Super jackpot" and the totally defeated nervous laughter/cry when you start a third Martian Attack (only happens if you defeat the previous two Martian Attacks).

Animations are superb and never get old. ColorDMD knew to make this one of their first 5 releases a few years back, and man, does AFM shine with one.

Cabinet art is simple yet very loud with its red-orange-yellow-black contrasts. I like that the coin door has just a martian and not the title like nearly every other game in existence.

This game embodies the "simple is better" mantra in nearly every way. Inexperienced players will likely take down a saucer on their first few games, yet experts can have a challenging and rewarding journey to Rule the Universe. The theme from the 1950s is one nearly everyone loves, and the slapstick yet serious humor of the game blends so well.

Light shows are fantastic. Start of multiball is a nice tip of the hat to The Addams Family (lights cascade from the bottom to the top of the playfield just like "Showtime!" on TAF). The game may have a main bash toy, but it is done so well. It never seems or feels old to go after the main saucer, and the lil' saucers all over the playfield created a great ambiance. The martians jumping up and down are a very well done gimmick for Martian Attack. As stated before, even though these are all bash toys, they are done right. It doesn't seem "ho-hum" in this setting; it feels right and like you are on the offensive blasting those horrible, green, disgusting martians!

Strobe multiball is one of the coolest modes I've ever seen. If you are in a room with any lighting, you will not get the full effect. The room has to be totally dark, and with a Pinbits strobe kit, the effect is amazing. The translite will flash on and off with the strobe at the main saucer, and man, is it a major improvement. Don't think about this mod - GET it.

Most mods on this game are very tasteful, particularly the aforementioned Pinbits strobe kit, as well as anything by Bill Ung. I was blessed to get a game with both the mini-saucer light mod as well as the martian red eye mod and the runway lights underneath the main saucer, and boy, all these mods are very effective in creating an immersive experience.

The only negative about this game: the limited (roughly 3000) quantity and the price. The price has gotten insane with routed examples (at the time of this writing) going for $5500+, and excellent examples selling regularly for $8000. No doubt, there is not $8000 worth of game here, but there IS $8000 worth of game AND fun here. Everyone who comes over loves this game, and people who couldn't care less for pinball can't help but play a couple games. It appeals to nearly everyone.

While this may not have been Bally's last game before B/W shut their doors to pinball, to me, this is Bally's Swan Song game - practically perfect in every way. Talk about going out nearly on top. If remakes come out, I couldn't care less if the originals fall in price or not. EVERYONE should be able to enjoy this game, and everyone should have a chance to Rule the Universe. If my game drops to $1000, I wouldn't care. I love this game, and I think I can finally say - after 4 years and almost 20 games - that I have found a title I will never let go of unless there's a life or death/need money for my mortgage situation that comes up. It was a 20 year wait, and every game I play on it validates that the wait was well worth it.

If you have the means, get one.
5 years ago
Iron Man, one of Stern's Vault Edition re-release games. Is it a great game? Well, when the game is made more than once, there's a reason why. Let's dive right in.

Keep in mind I am reviewing a IMVE build date Aug 2015. I am NOT reviewing the original from 2010.

The game has a very solid presentation overall. Playfield looks the part and is bare while having a lot going on if that makes any sense. No real toys to shoot for until Iron Monger comes out from underneath the playfield, but hey, that is totally ok. This is a game where "less is more", and it executes that pinciple very well.

Light shows are very well done. ColorDMD in this game, as with any ColorDMD game, is an absolute must. The animations look so good with a ColorDMD. Heck, some of them I never even could really make out until color was added.

Incredible flow on this game, nearly no down time until Iron Monger emerges. Orbitals can get going super fast, and if you nail the orbitals 3 times or more, you'll know what I am talking about. Ramps are relatively easy to hit and are very satisfying to hit in combo shots.

Modes are good, some can be very annoying. 10 drones seem like a lot to hit to achieve WarMachine MB. Some modes can be stacked, and you can get some big points going quickly.

The difficulty on this one is high. Some would say it is Stern's BSD, and I 100% agree with that. If you do not nudge or learn to shake a machine to get ball control, you will have some very low ball times. This game can be vicious even on factory settings. Nudge or prepare to feel defeated quickly.

Overall, a solid "less is more" game. It is a solid addition to a small or large collection, and the theme is one most will gravitate to immediately. Jericho is a solid mini-wizard mode. DoD Multiball is next to impossible, but hey, if you want a large challenge that is definitely it. Overall, well done, Stern!
5 years ago
Oh, good ol' BBH. Never have I had a game I fell in love with and broke up with so quickly. Let's talk this one over.

So, one thing I did like about this game was its LACK of over the top toys. It has the buck on a track-fed motor that stops at 5 points across the playfield in a diagonal manner. You shoot the buck with the ball, and the poor lil' fella "falls over" on the DMD. The other "toy" is a static Ram that sits on a massive flipper coil. When you activate Ram multiball, the Ram pops out, and you shoot him with the ball, and once again, the Ram "takes a nap" on the DMD.

The playfield is a unique layout with one big massive ramp, a "raptor" ram kickout lane similar to JP, an orbital shot from left to right, an "inside" lane shot from the right to the pop bumpers, and a pseudo-lock for Bird multiball. It is a very bare playfield, and with this game that is not a bad thing; it just seems a bit too sparse.

The music in the game is great - lots of country like banjo music, but it has drive and a fast tempo.

The sounds are hilarious in this game. Bird multiball has 4 different modes ranging from pheasants, doves, ducks, and the absolutely hilarious turkey multiball. Whichever bird you have going during multiball will squwack like crazy with every ramp you hit, and it is over the top funny with the shotgun blasts going off and feathers flying all over the DMD screen. Turkey multiball is especially a hoot as you hear the birds gobbling like nuts before the shotgun blasts go off. You can stack multiballs in this game, and when you do, the game really takes off like a rocket with shotgun blasts and feathers going all over the place.

The narrator has some great call-outs like "No point in aimin', just fire!!!!!!" or when you drain in the outlanes with the does painted on them he says "You got somethin' against women?" Just great stuff. Little things made me laugh like the extra ball bouncing across the screen has antlers on it, the moose chasing you on your ATV after you spell "Moose" - the humor in this game is so well done.

So, all this great stuff, you might be asking "Why a low rating then?" Well, it just has limited play for me. There's just not a lot of shots to shoot for, and the modes kind of all feel the same. I did not feel a huge amount of variation with the game, and some of the callouts did get overplayed. Don't get me wrong: when the game was fun, it was a great time; it just didn't last long for me. I wanted to like it, and I did; but I just didn't see enough there to warrant keeping it. This is a game that is good if your friend owns it, but in my collection it was time to let it move on.
6 years ago
** - My rating is for the LED Pro edition, NOT the regular Pro edition - **

There's always something special about your first NIB. It is almost comparable to your first love; it signifies a milestone in pinball ownership, and it tells you the rabbit hole is getting deep in the hobby for you.

So in March 2015, I took the plunge and brought home an AC DC LED Pro edition. The LED Pro edition is distinct as this one actually does have a swinging bell mechanism the ball interacts with, as well as a metal speaker plate and a mixture of metal (on top) and wood (on the sides) backbox. All this being said, let's dive right in to this review.

We'll start with the cabinet art. I am a big fan of the cabinet art; it just looks the part - lightning bolts on each side with printed speaker panels in the backdrop and AC DC smack dab in the middle. There's "artificial" damage that gives the cabinet a rougher look, and the decals feel silk-screened finally - a MAJOR advantage of avoiding flipper button wear. Will still get lollipop rails when it's time...

The translite is kinda "meh". I really prefer what Metallica did - a hand-drawn image of the band in caricature format - that looks AWESOME. Here, it's just a generic montage of the band, and it really is very banal. Speaker panel looks solid with round cut holes and lightning protruding out and around the circumference of the speaker holes - looks really good!

A lot of people are really hard on the playfield art. To me, it really isn't THAT bad. When I am in a high-tempo game, and I am concentrating really hard on ball control, the last thing I really do see is Angus' face. It's not THAT big a deal. What's the stock alternative, the "devil" Iron Man lower playfield....? It's not that big of an improvement at all, and I never ever have utilized the lower playfield when playing a Prem/LE/Luci, so nothing really lost to me there.

Kind of a shame Stern gave the game plastic ramps. It should really have metal habit trails; it would have definitely looked the part in this game. Plastic ramps are always such upkeep once they get dirty, and if they get too bad; it is a losing battle to keep them looking nice. Jukebox in the back looks GREAT; Stern's attention to detail shows on this static piece.

PF layout is pretty solid; I am glad this game doesn't have the "pf divided by 2 ramps at nearly 60 degrees" look to it like a decent number of Stern games have had lately. Stationary targets in the middle have a bit of a BSD throwback to them - go for them at your own risk. Orbital to the left flows very well with spinner; right orbital lane stop prematurely at the jukebox which is not too bad as it is necessary to change songs when the time comes.

Outlanes can be BRUTAL on this game, especially with the cannon blocking nearly the entire right in/outlane area. I won't deny, this game has brought my level of nudging to a higher plateau. If you "hope" the ball will bounce your way rather than influencing it by nudging, you're going to have very quick ball times.

Sound effects are AWESOME. The train whistles on the left ramp vary slightly and are always a treat to hear. Fire sizzling and popping up the right orbital is a treat. The bell sound never, ever gets old. Cannon rickshaw wheels rolling when firing the cannon is a delight, and the BOOM of the cannon - especially with a subwoofer - when you hit the lit target is masterfully done. VERY few callouts in this game, but that's not a bad thing at all.

Music is audible ice cream. If you like AC DC, you'll never get old of this game. If you don't like AC DC, well, might want to keep moving .....

The toys....the toys...... Lately, it seems like Stern has been making "bash toys" games - especially with Metallica and TWD. Here though, they did it right. The LED Pro version has an actual swinging bell that pivots from the back instead of the side like the Prem/LE/Luci. It may not swing as wildly as the Prem/LE/Luci version, but it is very active, and this is a "bash toy" done right. It is a bell; it is SUPPOSED to swing like this. The implementation is just spot-on awesome, and it is executed nearly flawlessly.

The other main toy is the cannon. Now, the device is very cool; a motor rotates a horizontal solenoid that fires a shooter rod out and launches the ball somewhere on the playfield. What I didn't like was the "meh" acrylic plastics of the cannon - come on... I spent some money and got the Pinball Refinery cannon mod of an actual rickshaw wheel prop cannon with red LEDs in the barrel and the fuse area and yellow LEDs under the base that activate when it is time to fire the cannon. Now THAT is a cannon.

This game is a modder's haven, and there are no shortage of mods on mine. Quick run down:

1. Premium 3D train in plastic of "acrylic billboard" version
2. Previously mentioned Pinball Refinery cannon
3. ColorDMD
4. EL-glo wires for the TNT box in the middle
5. Metal plate for the shooter lane wall to keep the wooden lane safe from ball damage
6. Devil horns on the backbox that light up with the bumper pop flasher
7. Upgraded 4" Pyle speakers for the backbox, 8" Pyle mid-range cabinet speaker, and external Polk subwoofer. Plan to implement Boss equalizers in the future.

There are scores more of mods you can do - YMMV.

Bottom line, this game is awesome. Sounds are great, flow is pretty solid, animations are a great time on the DMD, and a ColorDMD is an absolute must-have. There is zero buyer's remorse; it is an overall excellent game. We are planning to move into our first house hopefully next year, and I will gladly welcome this game home to its upcoming gameroom, where I do not see it leaving for a very long time.
6 years ago
Ok, first off - disclaimer - this is the only pin I have bought more than once. With that being said, it is easily my biggest guilty pleasure.

There is something very open about JM's playfield layout. Yeah, the left ramp is right there, but it is a sure shot and very valuable during modes or for working up to Yakuza Strike. The right ramp is much farther up the playfield, but it is a very smooth and simply 2 way ramp combo from left to right or vice versa. It just works and feels great.

The orbitals are a bit tougher to hit with solid consistency. The right orbital isn't so bad, but the left orbital is a bit of a tougher shot to make with precision. It is possible to hit it from a backhand off the left flipper, but it can be risky.

Modes on the game are well varied and require either orbital shots, ramp shots, spinner lane shots, or a combo of any of these. On other games, I sometimes find myself cradling the ball and timing out the mode, but on JM, there's something about the modes that make them attainable. They don't seem so far "out there"; they appear doable and are very rewarding.

The toys are a bit sparse on this game. The cyber-matrix is cool as it is all about your memory - being able to remember what is where on the cyber-matrix. There can be some major strategy to it as well. For example, do you go for 3 in a row - effectively 3x your jackpots during multiball, or do you go for 3 MAJOR big awards but give up the 3x jackpots.

The glove - oh boy. Yes, this toy is known for being troublesome, but thankfully it can be fixed. There are some people in this community that have done some fantastic writeups, and with some understanding of how it works, a lil patience, some grease, a soldering iron, and new X or Y nuts, it can be addressed and fixed. The glove - while it may slow down the game - is massively necessary to keep the fun factor. Anytime the glove doesn't work, it just is "about 60% less fun" as a fellow Pinsider once aptly stated.

Light shows on this game are just fantastic - especially Yakuza Strike. Man, the flasher really get used to their full effect in this game.

The only REAL negative I have for this game - the abuse of super spinners. When this broken rule gets exploited, the scores can get insane fast. Some people have slowed their spinners down, while others have even resorted to taking them out entirely. YMMV on that one.

Bottom line, the ONLY thing keeping this game in B-C status is the theme. If this was the Matrix, it would be right up there with the A-listers. Thank goodness it is not, because this is a true players pin and well worth the cheap price of admission - given the prices of similar pins from this era and level of popularity.
6 years ago
Metallica is one of the biggest bands in the world. Their music has reached millions of people and from Kill'em All to Justice, has some strongly lyrical taboos. It only made sense that sooner or later, a pinball machine would be made on a mass scale (not to undermine the one-off made from an Earthshaker prior to Stern's release). Let's get right to it: the good and the bad.

First, the goods:

1. Absolutely gorgeous artwork design. Stern made a very wise decision abandoning phototshop artwork and going with an all natural hand-drawn setup. Just beautiful, and a huge breath of fresh air.

2. Light shows are outstanding, especially when the electric chair goes off. LE light shows take it to a whole new level incorporating the light shows with the rulesets, but the Pro does an admirable job here as well.

3. Metal ramps. That is all. Metal ramps.

4. Sparky is a well integrated toy. It may be just a solenoid going back and forth, but the gimmick is strong and looks great when electric chair multiball is started.

5. Song package is just superb. They picked a strong and solid set of songs from Metallica's album collection.

6. Great number of multiball modes, and boy is it exciting to stack them!!!

7. Love the mini-wizard modes. This game has a LOT of depth. Not as much as LOTR, but that's a high bar set.

8. Lots of mods out there for this game, and most of them are done very well. Snake tongue decal and teeth are a must right out of the gate.

Now the bads:

1. Sound package. Yes, the songs are great, but the speakers - yeesh. Do yourself a favor, at the minimum get yourself an external subwoofer - holy cow - the bass will be 10x better.

2. Bash, bash, bash. This is not strictly on Metallica, but a lot of games lately just seem like bash fests. What happened to interactive toys like the JM hand, or things that inspired like TZ's gumball machine or BSD's mist ball. I miss things like that. Metallica just doesn't have anything that makes you go "ooo....ah!" when it comes to toys.

Overall, what a package deal here. This is easily one of Stern's best in the last 10 years when it was released. The fun factor is definitely up there, and while it may not be super friendly to non-pinheads, show them how to at least start electric chair multiball, and you have a game that can get addicting quickly. Metallica is definitely a case of justice for all!
6 years ago
The Getaway.... a game I didn't want at first, and then the overall art package made me want one. I wanted to try something different with this one.

Let's go over the goods and the bads:


1. As mentioned, superb art package. Excellent cabinet art as long as it does not fade. The reds are sharp as a guillotine. Logo for the game looks like something you'd see on a high-end sports car. Just looks solid.

2. PF layout is great. Only one really main ramp to shoot at, but it's a big one to go for as the entrance to the supercharger. Back ramp for ball lock works very well - very few technical problems or glitches with it. Satisfying kick-out hole in the "mountain" - almost can hear and feel the ball go "thunk!" into it each time.

3. Toys is definitely where HS2 shines a bit. The traffic light is simple but sweet. There's something about it I have always loved; it is very aesthetically pleasing about it. It looks like a literal mini-traffic light you'd see out on the street. Just love it. The supercharger is a beautiful design of optos and magnets with "zero moving parts" that can REALLY get the ball moving when tuned right. If it stops working, it is a bit of a pain to service, but nothing too insanely difficult.

4. Parts for this machine have become a bit more available especially with CPR bringing out the plastics again.

Now the Bad:

1. The rules. I wouldn't say I have to have a ocean-deep ruleset, but this thing is VERY shallow in the rules department. Go for all 5 gears, boom, done. Yeah, you can manipulate things to get more points and not fly through the gears, but this was definitely the first game that I beat repeatedly with little effort. Just, what a drag.

2. 1 orbital, 1 ramp, 1 kick out lane. There's your shots. Yeah, you have to go for the traffic light stand-up targets, but some of that is just pure luck. The bottom two sets of targets I can understand there's some skill involved, but that last set near the pop bumpers - holy cow - you're at the mercy of the pops.

3. PF layout with regards to the pop bumpers/targets. The middle just seems - dead. You shoot in that area, and the ball either nails the stand-up targets or just rolls all around with no real purpose/direction. Just seemed like a dead area to me.

Overall, a very fun game to have in a large collection. This is definitely a non-pinhead friendly game. First timers who don't play much or any pinball will naturally gravitate to it. The theme is excellent, and the sounds of the game will get people involved. For people wanting more of a challenge though, they will move onto the next machine.

I wanted to keep mine, I really did, but in the end, I had to move on.
7 years ago
BSD, one of the "love it or hate it" machines. As many who are reading this know, there is no wizard mode. It is all about triple stacking the multiballs, and that is no small task.

Being an avid pinball enthusiast for only a lil' over 2 years now, I purchased this one knowing what I was getting into. This is a "kick you in the teeth" game. You may have scores that don't top 20 mil, and then the stars align, everything comes together, and your scores go into the high hundred millions to low billions.

The art and theme are dark; this is not a family friendly game. Some pretty intense DMD animations - especially jackpot on castle or coffin multiball. Animations are most intense or possibly even gory second only to Tales from the Crypt. The mist ball is the toy of the game, and seeing it in action never gets old - very cool toy implemented to this day.

This game is one of the pinnacles of risk vs reward and a direct correlation to ball control vs payoff. Your skills are dialed in, and your score is only limited by the sky. Your ball control skills are not so good or your aim is off, BSD will make you pay. It can be a bit frustrating at times; casual players just flailing the ball will be discouraged very quickly. This is one of the few pins that once you've played a good while, you'll move to other games and notice a significant increase in your ball control abilities has occurred.

BSD has been a diamond in the rough for quite some time. Unfortunately for those looking to purchase, the price on this particular pin has increased in a frightening manner. I wouldn't say it'll ever really approach strong A-list level; it's just not THAT attractive of a pin. It's one of those games that has a strong following, but probably due to lack of depth and theme will never be a CV/MB/MM/AFM/ACDC/TZ game, and that's not a bad thing. This is the kind of pin that should be affordable to everyone. It has a lot of ball control and flipper skill lessons to teach, and it is one of the ultimate "just one more game..." pins.

Definitely a satisfying title to own, and I hope to keep mine around for many...many years. After all, I believe in destiny :).
7 years ago
I have never understood the dislike for this game. Granted, it had a tough act to follow with T2, much like the movie did, but it isn't as bad as I feel most make it out to be. The problem with the game is that it's not deep. Sandwiched in between TSPP and LOTR was a really tough place to be put, and most people probably have overlooked a pretty decent pin.

For some reason, I like the PF layout. It's not super-cluttered, and the ramps are easy to hit, with exception of the middle one. The middle ramp is a tough shot, but very rewarding when you hit it. The artwork - well - it is a bit rough and very difficult to match up to T2. T3 didn't have a chance there; T2's artwork is definitely better. T3's translite though totally rocks out, and I like the RPG. You don't see many backbox toys, and I felt this one was very well done. Sometimes, you have to adjust the targets, but overall, very fun backbox toy.

The problem I have is determining how to start the modes, and I refuse to read up on the internet. I prefer to figure it out as I go or have a friend show me. Reading it on the net is too easy, and that takes some of the fun of playing pinball out of the equation. That being said, T3's rules are not instinctive. It is pretty rare for a light or even the DMD to definitively signal you as to what to do. Learning on your own on this one takes some time.

I love the metal ramps; they require very little maintenance, and they are super satisfying to hit. The TX and Arnie's heads are there more for decoration than anything else; there are really no interactive toys on this game other the the RPG backbox toy. I kind of like that though; it speaks well for a pin if it has zero interactive toys and I can own and thoroughly enjoy it. RED mode is a very cool mini-mode where all the lights go out, and the red flashers pulse like a heart beat.

Overall, T3 is a good 7/10 game to me. I would like to own it for a long time; we'll see how that pans out. With an external sub, the RED mode just booms and explosions and gunfire are like bombs going off in your room. This game is substantially underrated, and IMHO, a great sleeper game. It is NOT for deep-rule players; it is a fun and enjoyable casual player's game.

If you can get it, and you enjoy casual pinball, this is a great addition!
7 years ago
I was a major fan of the XF back in the day when it ruled TV ratings. So naturally, I had to try this machine.

The good: 1. Beautiful playfield in terms of artwork - THIS is for the fans.
2. The alien baby and the fluke are great "tips of the hat" - too bad they are static toys.
3. Filing cabinet looks good - magnets when they work - are absolutely awesome when they throw the ball at the filing cabinet three times and then finally throw the ball into the cabinet.
4. Side art on cabinet is short and to the point - I love it.
5. Ramps are creative and awesome.

Cons: 1. Flow....if you do not hit these ramps 100% perfectly, you're going to have a boring game.
2. Sound: it sucks with one speaker - absolutely horrible
3. Sound variation: some quotes are memorable that get our adrenaline up - it's natural. When I can nearly quote the game for every event that occurs...that's bad...
4. Parts: Expen$ive and hard to find. Good luck
5. High maintenance (subjective): easily the most attention needed in my old collection. Never could play a game without something going weird/wonky.

Bottom line: Such a shame. I wanted to love this pin; I really did. It looks really good, but man, if the stars aren't lined up for you that game, if can get very old, stale, and boring quickly. Bummer :(.
7 years ago
Ok, here is a disclaimer. This is my "grail" pin, so naturally, my ratings and comments will be through the roof.

What can you say? This was supposed to be the "new pinball" - and looking back now it's weird to know this was a "curious oddity" that never took off. Quite a shame - should have been so much more than it turned out to be.

There's something about the underdog that I love, and Pinball 2000 is just that - the underdog. I first saw this game in 1999 - the fateful year B/W shut the doors for good, and at the time, I could see why. I loathed this game with such a passion; I couldn't believe this was supposed to be the future of pinball. Way back then, I loved AFM, and I was so excited to see a sequel - first time I'd ever seen a "sequel" to a pinball machine. But this seemed so wrong back then - I felt like I couldn't see more than half of the playfield, and the video seemed like such a gimmick to me. I walked away sorely disappointed.

Fast forward to the last 2 years, and I fell in total love with this pin. It all seemed so new and different. The interactive nature of the video with the pinball was superbly done. The animations are awesome, and I can't imagine how great they'll look with Ultimarc's video amplifier being installed soon. The art package is simply gorgeous - 100% perfection. The sound is true stereo, and man, does it sound booming for a "stock" setup. Great to see the lil' saucers and some of the aliens again on the PF!

The main objectives may seem a bit stale with the "same shots" again and again, but there's a good amount of theme variation to each theme that I seem to be able to overlook it; it just doesn't detract from the game to me. Hynobeam is awesome, 5-6 different multiball modes, martians attacking, saucers blowing up everywhere, outstanding light shows - this game has it all.

The sheer brilliance of Pinball 2000 is just awesome; I love it. As long as your cooling fan(s) for the CPU and the power supply work, the system seems strong and robust. I jumped in head first, and I don't regret it at all. Hopefully, one day, Pinball 2000 can be brought back - because this is simply awesome.
8 years ago
TFTC is easily one of DEs top 3 best machines. This machine has some great stuff going for it. The inverting ramp shot alone is SO sweet - the only machine I know to have a ramp that literally goes upside down. Both ramps are solid stainless steel, giving the machine a well polished look. The habit trails are winding and look outstanding - just... man - the ramps and habit trails are SWEET on this game.

People that complain about the artwork - I don't get it. This artwork is what the TFTC, Vault of Horror, Haunt of Fear, and Shock SuspenStories comics were based off of - why complain about the original source material? As for me, the artwork is fantastic. Both on the translite and the playfield, there are scenes and characters from at least 6-7 episodes of season 1 and 2 of the show all over the playfield.

The sounds are pretty good - the Cryptkeeper's cackle can DEFINITELY get old, but it's part of the territory. The modes are pretty good - some are better than others. Getting the Cryptjam is no easy task. The DMD animations are easily some of the best ever put on a machine because they are true to the source material. Want to see someone chopping off their own head? What about a chainsaw right down the middle of a face? And plucking someone's eyes out - why not? It's all here, and i would definitely say the DMD animations are possibly the most gory on any pinball machine ever made. If you have kids, don't worry - for the kiddies, there is a "censored" mode available in the options/settings.

Tombstone is a pretty good toy that is incorporated well and works great with the atmosphere. Typical DE skill shot at the beginning of each ball is to hit the drop target that is lit up as the light cycles from one to another. The ball launcher on this machine is SWEET as a fully replicated doorhandle, and you launch the ball by pushing the lever down like you would on a real door handle - one of the most unique ball launchers ever!

VUKs are known for getting a good beatdown on this game, but parts are readily available, and rebuilding a VUK is not too bad a job. I rebuilt my Super VUK in the back right corner of my machine first try with minimal difficulty.

Cabinet side art is subtle and to the point. The backbox sideart of the Cryptkeeper has a "grisly" but fitting look to it. Topper for these machines can be hard to find - now starting to go for $180+ on eBay.

Price can be anywhere from $1300 - $1900, but the price is starting to increase on these machines. Hearing a well taken care of TFTC go for $1900 to the low $2k's is starting to become a bit more common-place, and rightfully so - this is easily one of DE's masterpiece machines.

Don't let the DE badge scare you off; this is a pretty solid pin. Of the 4 I've owned, this is the last one in my home as of today, and Lord-willing, this is the one machine that stays in my home for a very long time!
9 years ago
First off, cabinet art. It is nice and simple - logo on each side with contrasting JP logos on the top side and the main sides (red logo on main side, yellow logo on side of backglass) - simple and straight forward. The translite just looks amazing to me. Yes, I agree, lose the main characters and have ALL DINOS - at first. You gotta remember, this is Jurassic Park, not "10 Million Years Ago". Yeah, the characters do take a slight bit away from the translite - BUT not much - not to me anyways. The TREX is dominant on the translite, and man, the translite, for me, is quite possibly my favorite. The blend of oranges and reds with the TREX is flat-out outstanding.

The playfield art, on the other hand, good mercy.......Nedrys hand directly above the "Lite Extra Ball" insert - OMG - are you kidding me? That just looks HORRIBLE. Other than him, the playfield art looks good, NOT great, but not bad either. This was a tough combination, doing the island map with the characters and all the oranges and reds near the ramp and TREX - tough, tough combo to blend together. Overall, I would say they did pretty good with it. NOT great, but not terrible. Scale of one to ten, I give the playfield art a 7.5, MAYBE an 8 if I'm generous.

The layout is a bit one-sided. Right flipper = 2 ball scoops and MAYBE the back-circular lane if you're good/lucky. Left flipper = one ramp and the boat dock. Top right flipper = TREX or the mid-circular lane. That is pretty much it, there isn't too much more to shoot for. The raptor pit, to me, can be hit with either R/L flipper, and the TREX is pretty much a top-R flipper shot only, unless you get lucky with a bank shot. GET CLIFFY PROTECTORS for all ball scoops - especially the bottom left ones. You will be shooting those very, very often, and they deserve to be kept safe. The pop bumpers are there, but they are nearly non-existent. At the beginning, the ball goes to them, but unless you hit the back circular shot from either direction, they are extra lights at best.

Ok, I've been hard on JP for a reason because now the positives come out. And man, are there EVER a bunch.

The toys: first, of course, is the TREX head. This has to be in the top 5 toys of all time, and quite possibly, the best one ever. The supercharger in HS2, Mist-multiball in BSD, Gumball machine in TZ,now-you-see-it-now-you-dont ball taker in TS, and Thing in TAF - ALL great toys. When that TREX head moves all around and watches the ball in play - ok cool - very cool lil' gimmick. When that ball goes into that lil ball pad (which REALLY deserves a toilet seat mod), and he roars and you see him go down and eat that ball, dude, that is it. All other toys pale right there in that moment. Then he actually swallows the ball, "smacks his lips" as if he just ate a BK whopper, and from time to time if you listen closely, he even burps. That alone, right there, made me want the machine. Absolutely AWESOME toy, and it is a HUGE crowd pleaser if you have friends over and they see it for the first time.

Next is the raptor pit. This is a ball-save kicker, exactly like the ones in LW3 and HS2, except that instead of saving the ball, it launches it RIGHT to your left flipper (most of the time). If it drains, the game is forgiving and gives you a "ball save" 9 out of 10 (of which the 10th it goes too far back up the outlane and you get screwed). The raptor pit's speed is all about how quickly the ball heads to the RP. If it is just meandering along and happens to go in the RP, it'll come out but you'll be ready and it won't be TOO fast. If you shoot that ball right in there though, and it makes a clean hit on the kicker, ho (not oh...ho) boy, you better be ready. That sucker will fly in the blink of an eye, and I've even had it hit my flippers with such force that it has gone airball on me. GREAT supporting toy to the TREX.

There's two instances where you have to shoot a raptor on the DMD. One is at the start of every ball (with exceptions of extra ball), and he runs across at different patterns and speeds depending on which ball you're on. The second is in mid game, the DMD POV is diagonal, and he is running across a field in front of your gun. You have to fire multiple times to take him out WHILE the ball is on the playfield. Not too hard, but I have lost a ball here and there trying to multitask. Sometimes, you have to ask yourself, is it worth it...?

All the other dinosaurs are support acts, and you'll see them here and there, but it's mainly for hitting bumpers or stationary drop-targets. Still, good to see the triceratops and dilophosaurus (spitters) on the DMD screen. There is only one ramp, but thankfully it does have a diverter, so in essence, one ramp becomes two - each resulting in a ball going back to each flipper. Also got 1.5 habit trails - one diagonally across the main portion of the playfield (like a mirror image of TZ's), and the other comes out from the table and brings the ball back to your right flipper if TREX is fed or you hit the "S" ball scoop".

One valuable "oddity" exclusive to JP is the Smart missile. It has its own lil' lit button on the ball launch gun, and from my understanding - whatever is lit up on the playfield when you launch that missle = you get. I don't have a complete understanding of its function yet, but it is a GREAT game saver if your two balls drain on you. On the third ball, it is an "instant" multi-ball starter. If your third ball drains and you're fast enough, launch your smart missile, and you get tri-multi-ball right out of the gate. I have done this and racked up extra balls and taken a game that could have been easily x < 20 mil become a x >200 mil points game VERY quickly.

The shaker motor is used VERY well in this game. It goes absolutely insane when you get tri-multi ball or whenever the TREX is headed your way (particularly during the "Feed TREX" mode). Do not disable it unless you're a huge preventative maintenance guy (like me :/ ). It REALLY adds a lot to the game.

The sounds are outstanding. Pretty much, all the voice actors are from the movie and add greatly to the atmosphere. By far, the dinos steal the show here. The TREX roars are simply awesome - especially the one he does after he destroys the jeep during the "match moment". You'll recognize pretty much every noise all the dinosaurs make from the movie. The light show, like any pin, is really good, and I found the attract mode to be simply that - attractive and eye catching. Pretty solid use of flasher bulbs that don't make too much of the game, yet don't take away from it either.

Overall, just an outstanding game. I am a bit biased, I love the first JP as a kid, and my first memories of pinball really stem from this machine, so I may be giving it too much good press, but I simply can't help it.